Category: Europe

Brexit talks resume in London after Brussels round leaves serious divergences
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Brexit talks resume in London after Brussels round leaves serious divergences

Issued on: 06/07/2020 – 05:24

Britain's separation talks with the European Union resume Monday with few signs of compromise on a new trade agreement and time running out to avoid a messy split.

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London will host EU negotiator Michel Barnier after a round of face-to-face talks ended a day early last week in Brussels because of deep divides in the sides' approach.

Barnier said after ending the negotiations last Thursday that "serious divergences remain".

His UK counterpart David Frost said there were "significant differences" that meant the sides were still searching for basic "principles underlying an agreement".

And German Chancellor Angela Merkel said upon taking over help of the EU's rotating presidency Wednesday that both her country and the 27-nation bloc "should prepare for the case that an agreement is not reached".

Britain followed through on the results of a 2016 EU membership referendum and officially pulled out of the bloc in Ja..

Migrants leave Ocean Viking rescue ship in Sicily after tense wait
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Migrants leave Ocean Viking rescue ship in Sicily after tense wait

Issued on: 07/07/2020 – 01:46

Almost 200 migrants rescued by a humanitarian aid boat in the Mediterranean Sea began to leave the vessel in Sicily late on Monday after nine days stuck on the ship.

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An AFP journalist aboard the Ocean Viking watched as the migrants, in single file and carrying backpacks, regained dry land at Porto Empedocle on the Italian island's western coast.

Police escorted them a short distance to another vessel, where they will be quarantined to prevent the possible spread of coronavirus.

The arrival of the boat chartered by charity group SOS Mediterranee capped a tense few days onboard marked by migrants jumping overboard, a suicide attempt and bouts of violence.

After being rescued in four separate operations on June 25 and 30, the migrants waiting on the ship became increasingly agitated, according to SOS Mediterranee, as the charity awaited the go-ahead from either Italy or Malta to dock at a safe port.

However, approval did..

Croatias ruling conservatives win parliamentary elections, first results show
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Croatias ruling conservatives win parliamentary elections, first results show

Issued on: 06/07/2020 – 02:05

Croatias Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic hailed a "great" re-election victory for his conservative HDZ party as official results showed them leading parliamentary elections on Sunday.

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"Our victory is not only great but binding," he said of the government's task to "work with all our hearts for Croatia".

His party was on course to win 68 seats of the 151-member assembly, ahead of the 42 seats won by their main rivals, a Social Democrat-led coalition, according to official results with nearly 90 percent of the ballots counted.

Nationalist and eurosceptic bloc Domovinski Pokret (Homeland Movement), led by popular singer Miroslav Skoro, came third with 15 seats followed by the conservative Most (Bridge) party with eight seats and leftist Mozemo (We can) with six seats.

The HDZ will now seek partners to form yet another ruling coalition which analysts believe should not be too difficult given their strong performance.

"The..

Reaching the bottom of the barrel: Coronavirus pandemic batters European wine production
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Reaching the bottom of the barrel: Coronavirus pandemic batters European wine production

Issued on: 06/07/2020 – 09:46

It's an ancient beverage turned cultural icon, so cherished in France that the legendary Victor Hugo once provocatively wrote: “God made only water – but man made wine”. Aside from being a staple at many family dinner tables, wine is also a massive European industry – and one thats going through its own coronavirus-induced crisis. This in a sector that was already battling against 25% tariffs imposed by Donald Trump in 2019 that have seen exports slump.

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Up to one third of French vineyards are believed to be in potential danger – in a sector that employs around 700,000 people in France alone.

FRANCE 24 has been investigating how winemakers have been coping – as some say they might end up forced to give up altogether.

Vincent Bouzereau, winemaker: "I think were going to have to pick up the pieces. We are all going to pay. I always say to my children, 'we can always tear up a vine, and put sheep out to graze, and then we can eat ..

Child sex abuse warning as coronavirus school closures continue
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Child sex abuse warning as coronavirus school closures continue

Issued on: 06/07/2020 – 09:33

Child sex abuse offenders are "taking advantage" of the coronavirus pandemic to make and share more abusive material online. That warning from Catherine De Bolle, head of European law enforcement agency Europol. In an interview with FRANCE 24, she explains that with millions of children at home, many are going unsupervised, using outdated and poorly secured software which leaves them at greater risk from exploitation.

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"You have to be aware, when your child goes on the internet, the child has access to the world – but also the world has access to your child. You have to be aware of this, and you have to protect your child in this situation."

Catherine De Bolle says that organised criminals have exploited the pandemic in other areas too, with a "huge impact" on cyber crime; with counterfeit and sub-standard goods, and property crime also singled out.

The Europol Executive Director also cautions for the coming months of economic crisis in E..

Italy could transfer migrants from Ocean Viking rescue ship on Monday
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Italy could transfer migrants from Ocean Viking rescue ship on Monday

Issued on: 05/07/2020 – 10:07Modified: 05/07/2020 – 10:16

Italy is carrying out tests on 180 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean with a view to transferring them to a quarantine vessel in Sicily, an interior ministry source said Saturday.

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The migrants have been on the Ocean Viking ship operated by SOS Mediterranee for over a week, with fights and suicide attempts on board prompting the charity to declare a state of emergency on Friday.

A medical team sent by authorities in Pozzallo, Sicily “ascertained the absence of particular health problems and also reported that some tensions that had been registered on the ship are being overcome”, the ministry source said.

The medical team is testing the migrants for the Covid-19 virus after which they will be transferred to a quarantine ship currently in Porto Empedocle, also in Sicily.

“The situation is carefully monitored in view of the transhipment of migrants, scheduled for Monday 6 July, on the Moby Zaza s..

Formula One drivers all wear End Racism T-shirts at season-opening Austrian Grand Prix
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Formula One drivers all wear End Racism T-shirts at season-opening Austrian Grand Prix

Issued on: 05/07/2020 – 20:23Modified: 05/07/2020 – 20:23

Valtteri Bottas kneeled holding the winners trophy at Formula One's season-opening Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday, where the podium trio held up a black T-shirt with “End Racism” written on it.

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That message was said before the race, too, when all drivers wore that T-shirt. World champion Lewis Hamilton, the only black driver in F1, had Black Lives Matter on the front and End Racism on the back of his.

But six did not join Hamilton and 13 others in taking the knee: Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen, Daniil Kvyat, Antonio Giovinazzi, Carlos Sainz Jr. and Charles Leclerc — who finished in second place.

Hamilton, who knelt alongside Sebastian Vettel, at one point bowed his head pensively while Kvyat pointed to the anti-racism message on his T-shirt.

Hamilton has spoken widely about racism in recent weeks following the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd — a handcuffed and unarmed Black man — after ..

Algeria buries repatriated skulls of resistance fighters as it marks independence from France
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Algeria buries repatriated skulls of resistance fighters as it marks independence from France

Issued on: 05/07/2020 – 18:48Modified: 05/07/2020 – 18:53

Algeria on Sunday buried the remains of 24 resistance fighters returned from Paris after more than a century and a half as it marked the 58th anniversary of its independence from France.

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The skulls of the fighters, shot and decapitated in the early years of the French occupation, were laid to rest during an emotional ceremony at El Alia cemetery.

The coffins draped with the national flag were lowered into freshly dug graves in the martyr's square of Algeria's largest burial ground, alongside national heroes such as top revolt leader Emir Abdelkader.

An elite unit of the Republican Guard presented arms while a funeral march played in the background, an AFP correspondent reported.

"This for me is a big day — a real independence day," said Yamina, the 84-year-old great grand-daughter of one of the fighters, Mokhtar ben Kouider El Titraoui.

"These remains are of the first Algerians who sac..

Who is Jean Castex, Frances new prime minister?
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Who is Jean Castex, Frances new prime minister?

Issued on: 03/07/2020 – 15:28Modified: 03/07/2020 – 15:36

French President Emmanuel Macron has named Jean Castex the country's new prime minister after the resignation of former PM Édouard Philippe's cabinet. Rather unknown to the public, Castex “comes from the mainstream right-wing party Les Républicains and is best known as "Monsieur Déconfinement" (Mr Post-lockdown) since April, when he was put in charge of organising Frances gradual exit from lockdown, something that has sRead More – Source

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Macron is putting himself back in control by naming Jean Castex prime minister
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Macron is putting himself back in control by naming Jean Castex prime minister

Issued on: 03/07/2020 – 13:37Modified: 03/07/2020 – 15:41

French President Emmanuel Macron has named Jean Castex the country's new prime minister after the resignation of former PM Édouard Philippe's cabinet. Rather unknown to the public, Castex came to some prominence in early April when appointed to head the government's strategy for ending coronavirus lockdown measures. “This is about strategy”, Andrew Smith, professor of phRead More – Source

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